Professional politicians are greedy, corrupt bastards one and all. Republican. Democrat. Doesn’t matter. They’ll say anything to get elected, then do anything to keep their jobs. Needs of the people be damned. Wealthy, yet beholden to the corporate interests bankrolling their slanderous campaigns through cowardly, ought-to-be-illegal, dark money groups, they spend millions telling us just how inept and corrupt they all are – and we eat that shit up, electing shill after shill, asshole after asshole. Doesn’t matter who wins, professional politicians ensure we, the little people, all lose. Why even bother voting?
Turn on, tune in, drop out.
I get it. Believe me, I do. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. So why bother? When democracy has been reduced to the people merely choosing between the lesser of two evils, after being forced to listen to endless attack ads for months on end, only to get a rich, corporate huckster who puts serving the people below fundraising for the next election cycle, it really doesn’t matter who wins. And if it doesn’t matter who wins, if we’re pretty much screwed either way, why go to all the trouble of voting in the first place? It’s pretty much a complete waste of time.
Turn on any form of media – the internet, TV, radio. Tune into anything remotely politically relevant, and you get one extreme, polarized position after another. We’re destroying the planet. We’re not destroying the planet. Islamist extremists are beheading journalists and executing hundreds of people in the middle east. Roman Catholic narcos are beheading journalists and executing hundreds of people in Mexico. Gay marriage. Gun rights. Reproductive rights. Voting rights. The list goes on. It makes more sense to just drop out.
I just deleted 300+ words.
You see, I lean a little blue. I’m what you might call a Will McAvoy Republican. I got a little sidetracked right about here, where I was trying to point out the stupidity of identifying with labels like conservative, liberal, republican, democrat. Political bullshit will NOT take a foothold on this site. So I just deleted 300 or so words where I tried illustrating the similarities (read: hypocrisy) between the 2 major, American political parties. In 5+ years writing here on GBXM, and the 10 or 12+ (I forget) playing cars with gearheads like us all over the world prior, I’ve seen how pointless and insignificant politics, language, and even geographic borders can be.
Maybe you’ve seen it too? We’ll nod or give a thumb’s up to complete strangers on the streets of our own towns simply because we recognize the effort they’ve put into their machines. We speak up, offering suggestions based on our own experiences to people we know only by clever screen names and text in our forums. We even spend a month’s pay or more traveling all over the world to hang out with each other, often without having ever met before. Don’t drive the same car? Not a problem. Don’t speak the same language? Not a problem.
Modifying our lives.
One of the things I think we need to figure out is how to modify our lives like we do our machines. Like I said, GBXM is NOT going to be a political outlet, but a big part of modifying our lives is being engaged and involved in the places we live. That means we need to pay a bit more attention. Yesterday was election day here in America. I voted. How I voted is none of your business (not that I think you should care, either way). What’s interesting, what prompted this piece today, is an observation I made about the results on the news this morning.
You don’t care. Neither do they.
They say maybe 50% of eligible voters turned out for this mid-term election here in Arizona. Let’s just call it an even 50% to be generous and make this example easy to follow. The next governor won with 53%. We had 9 different house positions up for grabs. The winners averaged barely 60% of the votes. Do you see what I’m getting at, here? Half the people who could vote actually did, and those who won barely got more than half those votes.
Call me crazy, but to me, that looks like 28-30% of the people getting what they want, 20-22% not getting what they want. And 50% not giving a shit either way. What is this, Sex Panther Democracy? 60% of the time, it works every time? That’s kinda messed up. I know the system is effectively rigged. I know they’re all crooks and liars. And I totally get why some people drop out.
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” I read that on a bumper sticker once. When your only options seem to be playing a rigged game and being outraged or dropping out and not giving a shit, the sane choice is clearly dropping out. It’s tough to care about something you’ve little to no chance of fixing. So you just don’t care. They don’t care either. Problem is, they still get what they want, while you get to pay for it.
VOTE FOR BREWSTER!
People say, “The person I’d vote for doesn’t have a chance of winning, so why waste my vote?” The only wasted vote is the one not cast. What’s worse, not voting means allowing that crazy 25% of people, that 1-in-4 who actually fall for the bipartisan freakshow nonsense, call the shots. People say, “They’re all crooks and liars. I don’t want to vote for any of them.” Word. That’s why I advocate Voting for Brewster.
If you aren’t familiar with the movie Brewster’s Millions, it’s basically this. Brewster, played by the one and only Richard Pryor, inherits US$300M from a rich uncle he never knew he had. There’s a catch, though. He has to spend US$30M in 30 days – and have nothing to show for it – in order to get the $300M. No houses, no cars, no fine art (sort of), nothing. He has to be flat broke at the end of the month. He gives some to charity, hires a bunch of people (whom he can’t tell about the $300M deal), and hilarity ensues.
One of the ways Brewster decides to burn through his cash is to run for mayor. His campaign tagline? NONE OF THE ABOVE. He hosts big parties, buys all kinds of advertising, always telling people to vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE. The other two politicians sue him. He settles and drops out of the race. But people everywhere vote for him anyway. They write-in NONE OF THE ABOVE, and the write-in ends up winning, forcing another election.
I doubt this little article on my tiny little corner of the web is going to suddenly go viral and, come next election, there will be a landslide of none of the above votes. But it’s nice to think that could happen. Again, barely half the people who can vote actually do, and barely more than half of those actually pick the winners. Imagine what would happen if about half the people who didn’t vote suddenly showed up and voted, but wrote NONE OF THE ABOVE on the write-in lines.
Let’s put it another way. What if we polled all the gearheads of the world, asking them to vote for the Sexiest Car of the Year. We show pictures of the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. Fans from either side start leaving furious comments about Ferraris catching fire and McLarens not starting, nit-picking every little detail in these two rarified machines. The final day of voting arrives. 28% say LaFerrari. 22% say P1. And another 21% say Dacia Sandero?
What’s the story on the front page the next day? How smug are either of the main candidates going to be, knowing nearly as many people voted Dacia Sandero simply to show them how little this award actually means to anyone? I’d say not very. And I think the same thing would happen if just 1-in-4 of us showed up at the polls (or requested and actually mailed in early ballots) voting for BREWSTER (NONE OF THE ABOVE).
I can’t help but think it’s more than a little sad when we’ve got people standing up to tanks in Tahrir Square in Egypt, or facing off with police in Hong Kong for the simple right to vote for those who would actually represent them, while here in America, half the people couldn’t be bothered to spend 5 minutes ticking a couple boxes (and the other half was largely convinced to vote against their self interests by corporate propaganda).
I’m all for dropping out. So long as we’re playing their game, they will likely win, but not voting is like taking your poker chips home with you instead of cashing them in at the casino. At least make one last, ridiculous bet. For shits and giggles. I mean, it’s the one time they’re actually listening to us. Next election, why don’t we send them all a message?
Until next time, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.